Babies On A Plane: Sit Back, Relax, and Try Not To Cry (Too Much)

I’ve finally made it to my 50th post. After two years of blood, sweat, tears, anxiety medication and more sweat – I live in a tropical country – it’s finally happened. This blog was my baby, and my baby is all grown up *sheds single tear while staring into the distance in a powerful, masculine way*.

On that note, lets talk about babies.

As a rule, babies aren’t too bad. A little bit overrated (come on, they’re just overgrown potatoes) and I certainly wouldn’t buy one unless I got a good discount plus a free coffee mug, but from a distance I wouldn’t feel the need to throw sharp objects at them. That’s generally a good thing, I think.

There is only one exception to this rule. There is one place where baby-hating would be fully justified and even encouraged. Yup, you got it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why they don’t allow sharp objects on flights.

Disclaimer: I did not/ do not have any babies of my own. I am not closely acquainted with any. I have concluded a business deal with a few but it ended in a lawsuit. The only credentials I have to speak on this matter is the fact that I was a baby once – something that I am not very proud of and would prefer not to speak about. So parents, do forgive my lack of empathy. My mother says that I am a vengeful person.

Anyway, BABIES WERE PUT ON FLIGHTS BY SATAN WHEN HE SAW THAT HUMAN BEINGS WERE ACTUALLY ENJOYING THE HELLFIRE AND SETTING UP DECKCHAIRS AND TOASTING MARSHMALLOWS AND TRYING TO SELL HELLFIRE ON EBAY. BABIES WERE MADE TO SLOWLY LEECH THE LIFE OUT OF YOU, 10,000 FEET UP IN THE AIR. THAT WAY, YOU’RE ALSO CLOSER TO HEAVEN, SO SATAN HAS MORE YUMMY CAMPING TREATS FOR HIMSELF. WHAT A DOUCHEBAG.

I think I should clarify that this post was provoked by my recent travels on a domestic flight, graced with the presence of not one, not two, but three spawns of Satan. For the purposes of gender-neutrality (#Equality) let’s call them Satan’s Spawn 1, Satan’s Spawn 2 and Satan’s Spawn 3. The SS, for short. Like the original SS, the infant SS too enjoyed committing what can only be classified as crimes against humanity. One of them looked distinctly like Heinrich Himmler.

SS1 was a troublemaker from the start. It had grabbed my hair and thrown its Binky at me in the airport before boarding the flight, so it’d already made it clear that it had something against me. The minute the flight took off, it began to bawl. Its parents pretended that it had a earache because the change in cabin pressure (yeah, right) but I know it was doing it specifically to irritate me. Irrefutable evidence of SS1’s devious mind came from the fact that it began to cry the minute its parents sat down in their seats, and started to giggle almost as soon as its parents took it for a walk up and down the aisle. It wanted to watch its victims suffer. You don’t get a good view when you’re sitting down.

SS2 was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It pretended to be the most angelic, holier-than-thou little human, an incarnation of Gandhi himself. I almost expected it to launch a non-violent protest and spin cotton. It blinked at everyone with these annoyingly perfect big blue eyes and smiled like it was in a beauty pageant. All the air stewards and stewardesses wanted to take pictures with it, like it was a celebrity or something. For some inexplicable reason, SS2 provoked my mother to say, out loud, “Aww, I wish I had another little baby.” This was strange for two reasons:

  1. How on earth could these screaming devil-children stir up her motherly instincts?
  2. She has me. What more could she possibly want?

I hate SS2.

SS3 was nowhere near as pretentious, but my God, he had the lung capacity of Tarzan. One would think that the flight was entirely powered by the sound energy being singlehandedly generated by that one-year-old. One saving grace was that, to make it easier for his audience, he had a wide range of frequencies to convey different messages. ‘Hungry’ was two screams followed by a prolonged cry. ‘Still hungry’ was one constant long wail. ‘Get that damn air stewardess out of my personal space’ involved a complex combination of short, angry screams and Binky-flinging. By the end of the flight, each and every one of us could help write an autobiography of SS3’s life, simply by interpreting its screams.

The situation was finally brought under control by one huge, terrifying-looking man (let’s call him Archangel Gabriel, God’s special messenger), who turned around and roared “QUIET” in the most fearsome voice he could muster. For a moment, both baby and parents were stunned, while the rest of us considered nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize and making him our Lord and Saviour. From then on, He became Enemy Number 1 for all babies and toddlers on that flight, with parents whispering “shush” and subtly gesturing towards Gabriel every time their babies tried to feign colic.

My trip got my thinking: Everything in a plane is supposed to be terrorist-proof or installed for safety reasons, but I think it was originally meant to keep us safe from babies. The huge metal cockpit doors? They ensure that the wailing doesn’t reach the pilots. Seatbelts? Without those, who knows where those squirmy toddlers might crawl to? In-flight magazines? Look, look, they have pretty pictures.

There’s only thing that we’re not utilising properly: the overhead storage cabin.

If you know what I mean.

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Basically High School Musical, But Without The Annoying Song Bits

When I entered high school a few years ago, my impression of it having been moulded by High School Musical and Mean Girls, I didn’t have very high expectations of the years to come. In my mind, I had created a hazy image of girls in pink dresses plotting to overthrow the administration using high heels and hair clips, football jocks bursting into songs like “Bop to The Top” and “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” during the game and computer nerds hacking into the System to steal the Principal’s secret M&M stash while he moonwalked with the nurse in the Photocopy Room.

Having graduated high school a few days ago, I realise now that I have never been more accurate about anything in my entire life. I was wrong about only two things:

  1. Contrary to my expectations, I absolutely loved every single minute of it.
  2. The football jocks didn’t sing “Bop to The Top”; they sang “Let it Go”, and occasionally, “I Am 16, Going On 17”.

Both Mean Girls and the High School Musical franchise portrayed high school cliques as being a terrible thing. At actual high school, however, I found that these are nothing but uncorroborated stereotypes created by Hollywood. I found it outrageous that Hollywood would do this without consulting me first, so this provoked me to make some uncorroborated stereotypes of my own.

High School Cliques, According to Mushroom Sup

The Bourgeoisie

Depiction in traditional high school movies: Pun(n)y little bespectacled kid, referred to as “Nerd”, “Geek”, “Give me your lunch money or I’ll give you a noogie, $%#&” or “It”.

Manifestation IRL (In real life): The high school bourgeoisie controls the dispensing of all knowledge to ensure the perpetuation of their intellectual supremacy in society. They hold too much power; they are invincible. Notes, homework, books: you wouldn’t survive high school without them. Forget bullying, you have to laugh at their terrible jokes – usually puns – if you want (to stay in) their good books. If not, expect no mercy: they’ll sic you with science and, to add injury to insult, they’ll beat you.

At chess.

Catchphrase: “Flunked a class? Was it the middle class?” followed immediately by “Laugh to pass, $%#&”

Starbucks Lovers

Depiction in traditional high school movies: The meanest of them all. They somehow have access to dangerous medication such as prescription sleeping pills and cough syrup, which they will sneak into your morning coffee (just because they’re evil) using tactics even the Navy SEALs would be in awe of. This involves wearing camouflage miniskirts and halter-tops.

Manifestation IRL: Completely harmless. The closest they’ll get to dangerous medication is pimple cream. No one admires them more than, well, they themselves, and their favourite verbs are ‘to Instagram’, ‘to Snapchat’ and ‘to #LetMeTakeASelfieBecauseIFeelSoPrettyRNLikeCommaIReallyDo’. You feel nothing but sympathy for them as you watch them stumble about in high heels looking for the perfect lighting and the perfect backdrop and the perfect hashtag to caption the perfect selfie.

Catchphrase: “My instagrammed Starbucks cup got fewer likes than hers. Do you think I should ask the Starbucks guy to spell my name wrong next time?”  

Douchebags

Depiction in traditional high school movies: The bullies. The football jocks. The ones who should really set up a bank account or ask for an allowance because they’re always short of lunch money.

Manifestation IRL: A major loss in status after the Nerd Revolution means that they are good for nothing but their entertainment value. Obsessed with (their own) facial features a day spent with the Douchebags means that you are likely to overhear things such as “Sick jawline, bro”, “Eyebrows on fleek” and “CHEEKBONES duuuude”. Football has been long abandoned in favour of the Mutual Admiration Society and giving noogies to nerds can absolutely destroy your nails. Basically, they’re the New Age Mean Girls.

Catchphrase: “Do these shades make my eyes look big?”  

The Fringes

Depiction in traditional high school movies: Also known as The Crazy Ones, the Fringes are usually arrested for snorting crushed sugar cubes off the Principal’s desk or storing the body of their mummified cat in their lockers or attacking the football goalpost.

Manifestation IRL: The Fringes are the most sought-after group. No Starbucks Lovers or Douchebag group is complete without at least one Crazy One – they’re the personal jesters. This may even amount to wars amongst sub-groups: who has the Craziest One? The Fringes themselves don’t usually know that they’re the subject of the war; they’re too busy sacrificing goats in honour of their Great and Glorious Lord, Jaden Smith. Or miming. They love miming.

Catchphrase: “Are we humans or are we dancers?”    

Teacher’s Domesticated Homo sapiens

Depiction in traditional high school movies: In the moves, for reasons unbeknownst to me, they always put an apple on the teacher’s desk. Why? No one wants to come to school and be given an apple (although it’s quite big and heavy so it might be useful to throw at students sometimes). Anyway, they’re the ones who follow the teachers around, ratting out The Crazy Ones when they bite the lunch lady. Again.

Manifestation IRL: Integral part of the social hierarchy – they’re the middlemen. Negotiating deals between the administration and the Plebeians is what they were born to do. Students want less homework? Teachers will listen to no one’s pleas but theirs. Teachers want higher pay? Sure, as long as they get a 15% cut. 20% if it’s the weekend.

Catchphrase: “An apple a day makes me rich beyond my wildest imagination.”  

To conclude: Of course, these are stereotypes from my little corner of the world but if you look carefully enough, I hope you’ll find yourself reflected in one of these, perhaps even in the front cameras of the Starbucks Lovers, or in the reflecting shades of the Douchebags or even in the shiny apples of the Teacher’s Domesticated Homo sapiens.

God, I’ll miss high school.
I’ll have to find a new place to hide my mummified cats now.

Mathematics and Me – How I Found X (Or didn’t)

What’s the difference between numbers and words?

Not much, it would seem. You can string numbers together to make a bigger number, and you can string words together to make a sentence. Both serve the purpose of quantification: numbers help us quantify amounts and words help us quantify our thoughts. Numbers can be used to confuse people and we call this “statistical obfuscation”. Words can also be used to confuse people, and we call this “Shakespeare”.

In fact, numbers and words are so similar that the ancient Romans became rather muddled; some of them started to mix up their words and numbers and instead of giving them medication for learning disorders, we started to call these numbers “Roman numerals”. And then we started teaching it to children in schools, because, as you must know, Romulus was quite the hunk.

So what is the difference? Are numbers and words actually the same? Were they created by the old druid Getafix to ensure that Julius Caser and his Roman pals would never take the little Gaulish village? Or were they created by the Illuminati to confuse the children of ancient Rome so that they all got Cs in their maths tests? (Or 100s, I can’t be sure)

The difference is this: Words make sense to me, but numbers don’t.

My tryst with mathematics began approximately – wait, let me get my scientific calculator – 4,273 years ago. No, that doesn’t seem right. Let me try again. 3,289 years ago. Yup, that’s it.

Anyway, I was born premature, and to quote my mother, “You indicated your problem with maths early. You came 3 weeks before due date and were in (fetal) distress.”

That was just an indicator of things to come.

Mathematics has never been my friend. I would say that I have a love-hate relationship with it, but there’s negative infinity love here. Mathematics is that annoying kid in class who keeps making paper planes and makes vrooming noises when he aims them at you. Mathematics is that toast that you just dropped on the floor, butter side down. Mathematics is all those times you try to get the thread into the eye of the needle, but in the end you decide to stab yourself to death with the needle because you just cannot, like, literally.

With mathematics, I just cannot. Like literally.

I’m not going to say that I can’t add two and two. Of course, it depends on the time of the day, and whether I’ve had my coffee yet, but I usually can. I’m not going to say that I’m terrible at anything to do with numbers – I’m a pro at calculating how many marks I’m going to lose before I get back the grades from a maths test. I’m usually spot-on.

What I can’t do, though, is the tests.

In the fourth grade, I wrote an original short story about maths, called “The Maths Test”. My mother preserved it and I read it recently. My mother says that I wrote it after a particularly distressing math test, and you can detect, from the handwriting, that I had certainly been traumatised at the time of writing. The story goes like this, and I quote verbatim:

“There once lived a little girl called Mary. She was a bad girl. One day her mother told her to learn maths because there was a maths test. But Mary was a bad girl and did not learn anything. On the day of the maths test she did not know anything. When the results came out Mary looked at the results and she saw she got everything wrong. This is a lesson not to be lazy.”

And in that moment, Mary and I were inextricably united in our sorrows. Mary was me. I was Mary. We were bad girls. We were infinite.

(I hope to make this into a feature film some day)

Mary still haunts me. She has loomed ominously over every single maths test I have done till date. I find it hard to explain. Before the maths test, I am perfectly fine, confident, raring to go – “Hit me with your best numbers”. After the maths test, I am usually sobbing uncontrollably, making vrooming noises and throwing buttered toast and needles at the boy with the paper planes.

Every sum on the sheet of innocuous white paper seizes me with a sense of terror. Regardless of how easy the question actually is. I’ve developed a coping mechanism over the years but a single mention of “find y” or “sketch the graph of sin x” can shatter the walls I built so painstakingly in an instant. It’s a lot like falling in love, to be honest. Replace “fall in love” with “fail in math” and even Demi Lovato, the Alan Turing of Nickelodeon, could describe my plight:

“So I’m putting my defences up
‘Cause I don’t want to (fail in math)
If I ever did that
I think I’d have a heart attack”

Heart Attack, Demi Lovato

Recently, I gave my (hopefully, fingers crossed) last math exam. It was no different from the rest. It wasn’t a hard paper, but Mary took over again. One of the questions was about a goat named Kimberly who walks around a field and eats grass and we had to find out the amount of grass she had eaten based on the perimeter and area and other math-related stuff. Of course, I paraphrase – it was actually a sheep named Juan Rodriguez, but counting sheep makes me fall asleep so I’m going to go with Kimberly the goat for now.

What confused me was the fact that they had named the goat. ‘Why Kimberly?’ I wondered to myself. ‘What is the mathematical significance of the name ‘Kimberly’? I’m sure they’ve mentioned it for a reason. They could have called the goat “Daisy” or “Billy” (those are the most common goat names in Enid Blyton books) or maybe “Moo” if they were sadists who wanted to give poor Kimberley an identity crisis. Wasn’t Kimberly the name of the mother of the guy who invented geometric sequences? Ahhh so they’re giving us a clue. We have to use geometric sequences.’

So I used geometric sequences and arrived at the conclusion that Kimberly the herbivorous goat had eaten negative 2.57 square metres of grass, and thus she was not only herbivorous but also environmentally conscious, replanting more grass than she ate.

I tend to overcomplicate.

And that’s my problem. Question seems too easy? I decide that I’m going to complicate it for myself. Question seems too short to carry a whole 7 marks? I decide to do this:

Foxtrot - Math

But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I felt a little bit sad when that math exam ended. Maths has played an important role in my life. Call it a first world problem, but it has taught me to get through adversity. It has taught me that numbers can describe, define, mystify, investigate, and confuse. It has taught me that algebra is nothing but a tragic love story where x never finds his y and ex is forever alone, whether differentiated or integrated.

And of course, I’ll miss Mary.

They’re Killing Me Over At The Doctor’s Clinic

I tend to see humour in strange places.

No, by “strange places” I don’t mean Timbuktu, or Zzyxx or Gogogogo, or even the United States of America.

I mean that any situation I find myself in is always inexplicably hilarious. Someone slips on a banana peel. I laugh. I slip on a banana peel. I laugh. My grandmother slips on a banana peel. I laugh. The scientists working on the CERN supercollider ask me to stop laughing because it’s distracting them. I laugh. But maybe that’s just because I’m a rebel.

But the most inappropriate laughter is that which is engendered at the doctor’s clinic.

The Clinic is, undoubtedly, the worst place to be laugh. That’s why the number of stand-up comedians performing at hospitals is dwindling (“Why aren’t you laughing? Did you break your humerus? Ba-dum-tiss!”).

But there’s no other way to put it; the Clinic is a microcosm of the world. Every shade and hue of every character that exists in the vast and wonderful world can be found in your nearest clinic waiting room, either flipping through the latest issue of Vogue or trying desperately to get the toaster off their hand so that they can flip through the latest issue of Vogue or throwing the latest issue of Vogue at the head of their child, whose (insert body part of choice) is stuck in a toaster, in a manner of negative reinforcement.

Here are a few you may chance upon:

The Hypochondriac

The hypochondriac is instantly recognizable, because he (I’m going with “he” because Mushroom Sup’s Special Survey has very scientifically concluded that 7.65 of every 10 hypochondriacs is male) will be the only one reading the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology instead of Vogue, and diagnosing himself with symptoms of pregnancy. He is also the only one wearing gloves and a facemask. He will look around suspiciously every time someone sneezes, or breathes, or displays the slightest sign of life. The receptionist recognizes him as soon as he walks in, and refers to him affectionately by a nickname, generally along the lines of “Honey”, “Sweetie” or “WHY ON EARTH IS THIS &@#! BACK AGAIN?!”. This will be his fifth visit to the Clinic this week. It’s only Monday.

Beware: Don’t sit in the special “spot” he’s reserved for himself – it’s close to the window so he doesn’t accidentally die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Child with Random Body Part stuck in Random Household Appliance

This is most certainly the happiest patient in the clinic. A vacuum cleaner stuck to his ear, he appears to be immensely pleased with himself. He comes over and proudly shows it to you, while his older sister takes pictures of him which he will put on Instagram when he is older, tagging them #Throwback Thursday and captioning them “It’s the Ear of the Vacuum” – which will get 500 likes because everyone likes a good pun. It almost makes you want to stuff your ears into a vacuum cleaner.

Beware: If you find yourself strangely attracted towards electrical appliances, channel this energy productively and bake a cake. It’s oven-win situation.

The Mother of the Child with Random Body Part stuck in Random Household Appliance

On the other side of the spectrum, this is certainly the unhappiest patient in the clinic. She has a child who thinks putting his ear in a vacuum cleaner is nothing short of brilliant, PLUS he’s destroyed her favourite vacuum cleaner. She will feel an interminable urge to explain to everyone the EXACT sequence of events that led to her current pitiable state. Except there’s no good way to explain how and why your child put a body part in a cleaning appliance. The story will involve a dog, and a trampoline. Well, at least that’s what my mother told them.

Beware: Might ask you to hold the child down while she attempts to pull off the appliance.

The Doctor-sans-certification

The Doctor-sans-certification is an improvement on the traditional hypochondriac. No longer is she afraid of contracting an illness; she has now taken it upon herself to diagnose others, prescribe a course of treatment and offer psychological counselling to deal with the trauma of illness. She is likely to be found hovering about outside clinics rather than inside them, whispering, “Psst, want a diagnosis?” She preys on hypochondriacs – he thinks he’s pregnant? She’ll tell him to expect triplets, and then ask to be their godparent.

Beware: Might try to sell you drugs. “Medicinal, of course.”

The Im-patient

If the Im-patient were a personality type, they’d be an ISTJ because they’re the most common. They hate the wait for the Doctor, and will constantly jump out of their seat to ask the receptionist, “Is it my turn yet?” even though their number is “73” and the doctor is still trying to save the life (the universe, and everything) of Patient Number 42. The pages of Vogue won’t hold their attention for long, and soon enough they’ll be wreaking havoc, throwing vacuum cleaners at eager children, sneezing in faces of hypochondriacs and buying aspirin by the gram.

Beware: If I live anywhere close to you, stay away from your local clinic unless you want a vacuum cleaner on a body part of your choosing.

The Receptionist

If this were one of those apocalypse movies, the receptionist would be the one who single-handedly saves the world from annihilation. She may be cursing you audibly under her breath, but she is prepared for anything – from the hypochondriac’s request for sanitized Vogue magazines to the electrical-appliance-child’s request for a selfie to the im-patient’s request for an easily disposable murder weapon – and with a huge, slightly terrifying smile. She knows exactly how to deal with every sort of Waiting Room emergency, be it an aspirin overdose or a homicide (in both cases, the appropriate response is to keep calm and carry on, unless she’s committed the homicide, in which case, lol).

Beware: If the receptionist loses her patience, you know you’re doomed. Bring out the earthquake supplies – and hide them from the hypochondriac.

So the next time you go to the Doctor’s clinic, keep an eye out. Or a ear.

Unless there’s a vacuum cleaner around.

An Open Letter to My 13-Year-Old-Self

Dear MushroomSupRox2DaCore,

Four years on, I feel that I am sufficiently older, wiser and arguably mature enough to tell you about all the things that you are going to do in the next one year, all the things that you should not do in the next one year and all the things that you should not do but will do anyway just because I’m telling you not to do it.

(Yes, you’re still a rebel in 2015).

Since you are currently in the stage wherein you think that the Internet is magic (it’s not, by the way – it’s actually witchcraft, there’s a fine difference) most of my advice has to do with social media etiquette. Social media is one of the two places where you’ll be spending a majority of your time in the next one year. The other place is remand home.

Kidding – unfortunately, you also retain your brilliant, awe-inspiring, and frankly genius, sense of humour.

Anyway, I feel that it is my duty to inform you about the dangers of the Internet, before you become one of the dangers of the Internet.

E-mail

What you will do: You are amazed. You can now send messages to your friends without having to wait for your carrier pigeon to come back! Plus, there are so many platforms to choose from – Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL. At this point, you will be struck by the overwhelming desire to be different. You must stand out from the motley crowd.

Gmail? More like Flea Mail.
Hotmail? More like What Mail.
Yahoo? More like Boohoo.
AOL? More like AWOL.

So you choose Zoho, because you can’t think of a mean rhyme for it.

And then, to make matters worse, your will insist that your username be “MushroomSupRox2DaCore” for two reasons:

  1. Accurate spelling and grammar is too mainstream.
  2. You rock to the core.

This makes your email ID: mushroomsuprox2dacore@zoho.com. You will never bother to change it, which means that, for the next four years and possibly more, you will be ostracized from civilized society and rejected from at least 17 universities.

What you should do: The carrier pigeon’s your only hope. Try to keep it alive.

Facebook

What you will do: You are 13, and therefore legally allowed to make a Facebook ID. This is it; the moment for which you’ve been waiting all your life. You do the following:

  1. You change your Facebook display picture. To a picture of your favourite punk rock band. In a flash of brilliance, you caption it “Mah favourite punk rock band”.
  2. You change your age on Facebook to 107 years (because you can), change your relationship status to “It’s complicated” and because the words “interested in” are perfectly innocuous to you, you change your bio to “Interested in men and women”. You also change your career to “Working at Unemployed” (refer to aforementioned flash of brilliance), your education to “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” and your language to “Sarcasm” because aren’t you just the sassiest little teenager?
  3. You play FarmVille.
  4. You play CityVille.
  5. You play CastleVille.
  6. You play ChefVille.
  7. You play CityVille 2.
  8. You ask for snow for your city in CityVille by notifying all your friends “GUYS I NEED SNOW PLZ. My snowmen are dying.”
  9. Your mother un-friends you.
  10. You ‘poke’ your mother.
  11. Your mother blocks you.
  12. You change your Facebook status to “2 bored 4 lyf. I LUV PANDAS!!!” It gets 53 likes.
  13. This is greatly encouraging so you proceed to change your Facebook status to “I LUV CHOCOLATE!!!” followed by “I LUV 2 PLAY!!!” followed by “I LUV EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!” and finally “I LUV FACEBOOK!!!”

Many years later, a friend will stalk your Facebook page, like and comment on each and every one of these statuses, and turn your one attempt at a 13-year-old-selfie into a meme. You will be rejected from 17 more universities.

What you should do: Do whatever you want on Facebook, but don’t put your real name. Either that, or make friends whose Facebook accounts have been deactivated. That way they can’t stalk you.

Twitter

What you will do: Tweet things like “Hey @JustinBieber please follow me I’m your biggest fan” to celebrities who are not Justin Bieber, until they block you.

What you should do: Stay far, far away from this website. (Rule of thumb: Don’t join Twitter if you still need a babysitter.)

So remember, dear 13-year-old-self, not to make the mistakes that I did.

But if you do, I’ll be waiting for you here in remand home.

And if you were wondering, yes, I am, in fact, on a roll today.

Yours insincerely,
Mushroom Sup the Older.

The Colour of The Dress Is Merely a Pigment of Your Imagination.

Last week, the world tottered on the edge of a global crisis with potential wide-ranging disastrous effects. No, the world didn’t run out of Nutella. No, Facebook didn’t introduce a “dislike” button. No, Nicki Minaj didn’t release a new single. This was far worse.

They call it “The Dress”.

The Dress first appeared on social media at around 12:00 PM GMT on the 26th of February, which was followed by successive waves of panic that radiated from the epicentre – Tumblr – to places as far-reaching and obscure as Orkut and (you would have heard of this only if you’re adventurous and a seasoned traveller) Google+.

It was the day the Earth stood still.

They’re saying that the Dress broke the Internet. They’re wrong. It broke the fundamental human will to survive in the face of crushing adversity. It broke the age-old spirit of nations and the metaphorical camel’s back. It broke windows of old-age homes and every three-year-old’s favourite action figure and Stephen Hawking’s speech synthesizer. It broke our conception of reality as we transcended dimensions and the constraints of space and time and became acutely aware of the existence of a higher consciousness, a.k.a. Will Smith’s children, who took the road not taken with the proclamation:

Jaden

In Japan, every worker in every office stopped whatever he/ she was doing as the establishment collapsed, anarchy ruled, and sushi flew through the air. In the USA, Starbucks offered discounts to anyone who saw the Dress as blue and black and a new religion, Protestism, was developed to protest against the uncultured heretics who didn’t immediately see that the Dress was obviously gamboge. In India, programs were written to detect the exact colour of the Dress depending on the intensity of sunlight and the exact position of the sun in the sky, corrected to thirty-eight decimal places. The Russians offered The Dress a place in the Grand Russian Circus.

The Internet meanwhile, as it is prone to do, lost its mind.

Tumblr set fire to the Dress, screaming “WHAT COLOUR IS THE DRESS NOW MUAHAHA” and then running around in circles screaming “PROTECT US FROM THIS SORCERY” and “WHAT IS COLOUR?”

The supremely wise inhabitants of 9gag, on the other hand, took it upon themselves to explain the baffling phenomena, which I will summarize in five words for those of you who aren’t well versed with the nuances of the scientific method: “Such Retinas, Much Magic. Wow.”

Buzzfeed decided to take the onus of sharing their vast knowledge of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories with the unschooled public by means of an extremely scientific quiz titled “What Does The Colour Of The Dress Say About Your Personality?”

Twitter became a microcosm representing a divided Internet in a divided World in a divided Universe. For the first (and possibly the last) time ever, the world identified with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West who took the website to express their sense of disillusionment with the fundamentally mutable nature of reality.

Kim

So is The Dress a symbol of irreconcilable human differences? Does this mean that nothing is ever black and white? Do I have to apologize to Michael Jackson and/or colour blind people for making that comment? Does this exterminate racism? What is political incorrectness? What is political? What is? What?

Individual differences exist in how we perceive the world. Some may see blue and black, some may see white and gold, some may see blue and black with their spectacles on and white and gold without (all credits to my mother), while some may see teal (these people probably forgot to take their medication in the morning). But in the end, for one single day, the world was able to forget about its various problems, like poverty, and swine flu, and slow wifi. New friendships were forged between Blacks-and-Blues and Whites-and-Golds. As Kim and Kanye demonstrated so kindly, we now have proof that inter-Colour love can exist and thrive. The very construct of colour has been challenged and dismantled, which means that racism will become a thing of the past and humanity finally has something other than their hatred for Starbucks employees who spell their names wrong on their venti mocha lattes, to collectively bond over.

Yes, one fairly unattractive item of clothing can prevent, and perhaps even end, a World War.

I bet Hitler’s regretting his shopping decisions now.

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In Which I Confuse People. And Myself.

What do you call facial hair on a cow?
A moo-stache.

Now that I’ve successfully managed to cull most of my readership, I think it’s time for a little clarification: this is a humour blog.

As much as I’ve succeeded in proving otherwise, I try my best, in every post, to be funny. You may not believe it. It’s absolutely 100% true – these are my best efforts. Which, ironically, is quite funny if you think about it.

Anyway, the blog is called “Funny for Nothing” and although the operative here is “funny”, I am infinitely more adept at the “nothing” bit – and that’s the closest I’ll come to an apology for not writing in a month and a half. I live on my own terms, bro.

As I have so magnificently demonstrated in the last forty-three posts, humour is hard. Of course, some people are just pure comic genius – take Charlie Chaplin for example, in The Great Dictator. Rather eerily, my humour also happens to be like the Great Dictator. I think that everyone’s laughing at my jokes (“Why was Hitler so surprised by the Allied advance? Because he did nazi it coming”) but actually, they’re just laughing at my teeny tiny moustache and ugly haircut.

Every time I write a post, I have to focus all my efforts on being funny. I’ve got to get in the groove, thinking, ‘Be funny, Mushroom Sup. Be funny. You got this’ and then taking deep breaths and doing my humour exercises, which are elaborate and super technical and difficult to explain to such a Plebeian crowd, but mostly consist of me putting my head in a paper bag and imagining Chairman Mao as a toddler.

As a rule, this does not work. Well, it does work in a sense; my mother generally tells me to stop “acting funny” (I have been informed that there is a subtle difference) followed by “you didn’t get this from my side of the family”. Which is probably what Mao’s mum told him when he tried to get the Chinese to manufacture steel in their kitchen stoves using old bicycle parts. Good guy.

On the other hand, whatever little wit I managed to accidentally churn out online dissipates entirely in real-life interactions. It is precisely the sort of thing for which the word “worse” was invented.

I am the meteorite of comebacks (I tend to crash and burn):

“Yo mamma’s fat!”
“Yeah? Well…“fat” is a relative term! Ha!”

Most of my wit occurs in retrospect. If I had a catchphrase it would be “Oh shoot, I should have said that!” To counter this, I’ve fallen into the habit of rehearsing situations in which I might be required to say something witty. I’m still waiting for a situation in which someone says something ridiculous about semi-aquatic marine mammals, so that I can say “That has got to be the seal-iest thing I’ve ever heard!” and then there will be uproarious laughter, following which everyone will applaud my razor-sharp wit and perspicacity, which I will then humbly attribute to my gifted genetic make-up.

Sometimes, though, I get lucky, and somebody does say something about semi-aquatic marine mammals, and even then, I successfully manage to botch up the whole operation.

Friend: “Hey, you know Flapper, that seal at the zoo…”
Me (*interrupts*): “OMG THAT’S SO SEALY HAHAHAHA”
Friend: “…he died yesterday.”

And then, in a flash of unparalleled brilliance,

Me: “…did he kick the fish bucket?”

…which is followed by a brief, horrified silence. Until I make it worse:

Me: “Is this crowd dead? I mean, c’mon guys, don’t be Flapper”

It’s helpful when your audience bursts into tears; that’s usually your cue to stop talking. But, well, you live and you learn. Oh darn, not again (sorry Flapper).

This is probably why I find I’m so bad at making friends. Everybody loves a funny person, and by logical extension of this fact, everybody hates me. Okay, fine, not “hate”, it’s more like, “I’m not sure if she just made a joke but she said something and laughed hysterically so I’m just going to chuckle to be safe and then back away slowly because she’s scaring me a little”. Most of my friends are my friends on the condition that I don’t try my hand at humour within a ten-mile radius of them.

They made me sign a document.

But you know what’s even harder than humour? Ending posts. It’s important for the end to leave an impact, but not be too abrupt.